Writing Kissing Scenes

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Writing Kissing Scenes

I received a request for a Tips chapter on writing kiss scenes, and it's a great idea because a lot of writers aren't really sure how to go about writing this.

Let's face it, there are a lot of obstacles that can stand in an author's way. These include never having experienced kissing, or being embarrassed about writing it, or simply not knowing how detailed to describe it (what details to leave in or exclude).

So here we go. A basic run-down of how to write your average kiss scene.

1 - Decide where on the scale your story falls

What is this scale I'm talking about? Well, there's not an actual literary scale, so you have to imagine it. Let's say it's a 0 - 100 scale, with 0 being a novel with zero romance and 100 being something along the lines of 50 Shades of Grey (Having never seen/read it, I'm going off of reputation here).

Depending on genre and target audience age, your story will fall somewhere on this scale, and that decides how much in detail you take the kissing scenes.

So if your target age is young teens, please reconsider including a rated R scene in your novel. Basically, just think about how mature you want to make your book before writing any romance scenes, and if you want it to go further than a kiss but still remain appropriate for younger audiences, you can have the scene end before they get anywhere.

2 - Natural body movements

Alright, let's approach this in a methodical way. Because yes, there is actually a strategic method behind writing a kissing scene. It may seem like a really rigid approach to a romantic gesture, but it can help the writing process. I assume you've all watched movies where two characters kiss? You'll notice that their heads tilt, they touch each other's faces/waists, etc. Body movements that happen instinctively.

List of natural body movements to include:

~ Eye gaze: The first indicator that a kiss is to come. You can tell a lot about a character by where they're looking.
Example: "I met his gaze, then watched as his eyes slowly flickered from my eyes down to my lips, then back up again."

~ Leaning in: One character will most likely initiate the movement, or they'll both slowly lean together. Example: "I leaned in close until our noses were touching."

~ Breathing and heartbeat: People tend to have more rapid breathing and heart rate. They may also need to take a breath if this is a long kiss.
Example: "As he leaned in, I tried to calm my racing heart, but it was pointless."
Example: "After the kiss ended, I was breathless."

~ Heads: Weird title, I know, but people tilt their heads when they kiss. Otherwise you would bump foreheads or smash your noses together. You don't always have to write it in, but it can be included.
Example: "I watched as his head slowly tilted and he leaned forward, capturing me in a kiss."

~ Lips: Obviously this is necessary for a kiss. You can pick and choose what to include here. If you've read some kissing scenes, you may have seem them describe their partner's lips as soft, or chapped, or strong. It may seem like weird attributes to apply to a pair of lips, but it can help describe the kiss.

~ Hands: Where are they? On their waists, faces, hair, etc.? If it's an awkward first kiss, they may be flailing around. If it's an unexpected kiss, they may still be stuck in the person's pockets.
Example: "As our lips met, he gently pulled me closer, then ran his thumb down my cheek affectionately."
Example: "I froze when he kissed me abruptly, my hands still mid-air from the vibrant rant I'd been performing."

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